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iPhone: Thoughts on the iPhone as a gaming device: Space

01-12-2009, 04:16 AM
Senior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 378
Thoughts on the iPhone as a gaming device: Space

So this stems from my post in the Puzzle Quest thread, about splitting the game into 3 parts. I started to type a lengthy reply and continuation on those thoughts, but it soon became apparent that it might be better to start a new thread. Forgive me for any awkward sentences that are a result of my previous statements in the PQ thread, I copied-pasted what I started here, although I'll work out the kinks.

So it seems, at 67.7mb for Ch. 1, that the PQ "Trilogy" (apparently it's really only one game) might be fairly large when all three are combined, I estimated 180mb in the other thread, which the poster Pitta responded it might be less than that, but nevertheless! The game as one would be significantly larger than 67.7mb, well over 100 I'd imagine. As an 8GB Touch owner, I'd rather have all the space I can, I did by the thing as a music player (and Japanese dictionary) first and foremost, and I'd rather not have a lot of wasted empty space stemming from content/apps I'm no longer using. I frequently delete apps that I haven't used in a while, though I retain the ones that have saved data. For example, I have kept 2079 on my Touch for the sole reason that it has saved my High Scores, I haven't played it in weeks (Yes, yes, I know, you can just record the high scores in the notes app or whatever, and then just compare for future reference, if you'd like, but whatever!)

I think in the future, if the iPhone wants to have more "serious" games, ie games that have the depth and length of some of the other console games (handheld as well as home, albeit older home consoles), that splitting them might indeed be ideal. Like I said, as an 8GB Touch owner (as opposed to a 32GB Touch owner), space is very precious to me, and my desires for a larger, longer game seem to conflict with my desires for space. But with the example of Puzzle Quest, splitting it up into 3 parts, price aside, seems to indirectly solve this issue. Keeping one installment at a time on the device while the others lie in wait. Similar to the multidisc console games, you can't fit it all on one disc, so you make 2 (or 3 or 4).

If I'm even roughly in the ballpark, the combined triology of Puzzle Quest would probably be around 180mb (assuming they are all the same size as Chapter 1), which to me is an unreasonable amount, I want that space for my music, etc. But this doesn't seem to be an issue, if I play through Chapter 1, and get Chapter 2, transfer my character over, then delete Chapter one. Bam! I have gotten rid of what I think of as essentially dead weight, unused space that could be taken up by something else.

And I can only imagine as the iPhone/Touch matures as a gaming device, games will only get bigger. I have read several posts of people calling, albeit half heartedly, for larger games, even 1GB games. Though I highly doubt we'll ever see a 1GB game, what people are really saying is that they want something more than match 3 puzzle games and fart apps. With all the iPhone/Touch seems capable of, larger and more intense (in terms of graphics, length, and size on disk) games. Hell, Katamari is like 80mb and it's still a short game, even compared to the incredibly short console versions.

To continue with Puzzle Quest as an example, I haven't played it, but it looks like one of those "stripped" down RPGs, not in terms of gameplay, but in terms of cutscenes and dialogue: static images with text bubbles,etc. Compared to cinematic cutscenes, I imagine these take up less space. What I owuld love to see in the future, and I'm sure others would agree with me (and others would disagree) would be a more "fully fledged" game, cinematic cutscenes, perhaps even spoken dialogue, I don't know. The example in my mind is a Final Fantasy game, just as an example. Undoubtedly, this kind of game would take up more space. If Puzzle Quest (haven't played it, forgive me if I am in error!) is as space saving as you can get for an in depth and lengthy RPG at 180mb, I would think that an even more graphically intense game with cinematic cutscenes would blow it out of the water in terms of space. What's Vay at, 80mb? And that's a game from 13-14 years ago, dated everything.

I have held the opinion that one of the biggest flaws (among many) with the iPhone/Touch as a gaming device is this size issue. There have been calls for longer, deeper games, but developers seem a little scared of doing this sort of thing.

Konami, in all their glory, are offering us cell phone games instead of genuine efforts to bring some of their titles to the platform. Silent Hill is a dull stripped down nightmare (pseudo-pun intended)far different from anything we've seen in the console versions. Instead of a full on Metal Gear Solid game, it seems we are getting a stripped down tap-and-shoot game (This game has yet to be released, we could all be very pleasantly surprised).

Chief among these fears, I think, is that they don't want to release some huge, epic game, well aware that us, the user,would find fault in a lengthy release. In particular, the inability to keep saved data after deleting an app. This is what differs from the DS or PSP, you can take out the game cartridge and still have all your data saved. The iPhone/Touch does not allow this. And I think that is simply one of the biggest issue in relation to the iPhone/Touch as a gaming device, and is directly related to the size of games.

This was my dilemma when I deleted Vay. Although I disliked the game (and still do), and despite the 80 or so mbs it was taking up, I was hesitant to delete it because of my saved data. Having gotten four (or so) hours into the game, I really, really, didn't want to start all over again. I ended up deciding that I hated the game enough I'd never play it again and deleted it. But say a larger (more enjoyable) game comes out, 200mb, some epic RPG. I might have a tough time deleting it, especially if I've put a lot of time into it, and yet I also want to save space. Deleting it would delete all my saved data.

Purely hypothetical of course, there is no game like that in the app store....Yet.

We all know that the iPhone is not a true dedicated gaming device and never will be. But it is still capable of offering some great games, some of which will undoubtedly be huge. I can't imagine in the lifespan of the app store we won't see some 100,200,300mb games offered up. And this space issue is a serious one, I think. Not so serious that Apple will do anything about it, in fact, I can't really imagine that it has anything to do with them at all.

But I wonder, will there ever be an app (and if there already is one, please, tell me!), offered by Apple or through a third party, that will allow saved data to be retained even when deleting an app. Like a Memory Card app or something. I'm sure that Apple could offer something in the SDK that would be able to do this, some universal saved data app. If this ever happens, it opens up many, many opportunities for the iPhone as a gaming device. I would be willing to install a 1GB app(for example) on my Touch, as long as I was able to keep my saved data in a separate area, so that upon deletion it would still be retained. It would almost be like a game cartridge, I could install/delete at will, days I wouldn't use it I could get rid of it, and days I wanted to play it would be there, saved data an all. And it would level the playing field a lot more with the other handheld consoles out there, elevating the iPhone/Touch

Anyways, I have been thinking of this for a while, since I started noticing some of the less obvious limitations of the iPhone as a gaming device, the obvious ones being control issues,etc.

So although people were at first angry at the idea of a Chapter 1 Puzzle Quest game, mostly based on the fact that it will no doubt cost more than $9.99, I like to view it as a possible prelude to larger games, solving the issue of size by simply cutting it into different "chapters" (whatever they might be called in future games). Of course, I would hope some system would be worked out with this, as it stands now, you'd have to buy the future apps seperately, etc. Which is the problem many people have had with Puzzle Quest's release (text-reading issues aside). I won't offer up any of my ignorant ideas, as I have no idea what the terms of use and technical limitations of the app store are, as well as what Apple will and will not allow.

But ideally, in a magical world where everything happens like I want, you'd buy the game, and then be able to access the potential "Chapter 2" version free of charge having already paid for Chapter 1. Similar to what happens when you update a game.

What a long post! I am sorry, I really am. And just to remind people, I am a layman in terms of understanding the intricacies of the App store, technical limitations of Apps and what Apple will and will not allow, so go easy on me!
01-12-2009, 06:32 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Italy
Posts: 3,236
What a 'reply'!!!

Personally, while I see your point, I do not have the 'space' problem (I have a 16 Gb iPhone...not a lot of music or video...so I have always more than 10 Gb of space)....I would have preferred PQ as 1 icon even if it was 500 Mb and 30$ (I estimate the final price for the whole iPhone PQ will be around 17$...similar to the XBOX 360 version; do not forget the iPhone version is the game+expansion).

On the contrary, I would LOVE to see full cutscene RPGs on the iPhone (as FF series, Lost Odyssey...) and I think the device is perfectly capabale of it....even if it means 1 Gb download (I think in time we will go that way...I already have 2 games over 300 Mb...have to check).
BTW PQ has some cutscenes...(static images with full voice over, as the intro).

You have a really interesting point about saved data though...I do not delete some apps for the very same reason.

I *think* that there are two warkarounds for that:

1) Save character online (as PQ or Arena).
I do not like a lot this method...something awful could always happen....I have already re-started Aurora Feint for that.
2) I think Apple could easily add in iTunes a 'backup app data' button: I would select some Apps (like games) and then obtain a 'save state' file that I can 'inject' later, via iTunes, in the re-installed app.
I would prefer the later method....if the iPhone would like to be widely recognised as a gaming device, a method to backup the SAVEs is needed (it's DIFFERENT from backing up the device, obviously).

01-12-2009, 06:56 AM
iPhone will never be a serious (hardcore) gaming platform.

The majority of users want really simple games that they can pickup and play for a little while then put down again. Really simple controls, pretty graphics, shallow, empty, rubbish.. "duuuuuh look mah I can make farts with muh iPhone...."

That said, it's definately capable of great things, just dont expect to see anything from the bigger publishers.

The problem isn't the device, sure it could do with expandable memory, its the audience.

Don't expect the latest and greatest xbox360 games to get a port to iPhone, because even if it did happen, it would be far from what you might expect.

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01-12-2009, 07:02 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 849
I am a hardcore gamer, and I got the iPod Touch for games. I play it when I am at home etc, and would love big games. While I think 1 gig games would be awesome, you also gotta think of your download limit! I would hate having to download a gig for a Touch game, then re-downloading it every time for an update. I wouldn't want games bigger then 200 megs, and I think they could make awesome games with 200 megs, look at BIA and Hero of Sparta etc.
01-12-2009, 07:12 AM
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Berlin/Germany
Posts: 949
I have a 16GB iPhone and space is an issue for me, because I have TV shows on it. About 300MB are currently taken by apps, which I don't use now, but which have data stored I don't wanna loose.

On the Mac it's so easy: Remove Pages with dragging it to the trash and all your docs and settings are still there. A year later reinstall Pages and it will open with your "old" settings and your old documents too. But on the iPhone, everything is gone. I don't know what Apple thought with this.

Of course you can built an online service to save profiles (and maybe bind that to the decice ID to offer hidden save/restore, like Tap Tap does, but which brings other problems when selling your phone), but then you not only have to deal with iPhone developement, but also with website developement and another language and infrastructure to manage.

Also the upgrade process requires storage. The app is put on the iPhone, then the settings from the app are copied and then the old app is removed (so far as I understood that ). This means, an 1GB app needs more than 2GB of space to be able to update it.


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01-12-2009, 08:28 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 432
Space is definitely a concern - I'm wondering if Steve Jobs had thought of the potential of an apps store (and the need for 100 giggers) when the phone was a mere concept - but I don't think it's a deal breaker by any means if that's your reason this can't be a game console.

First, though inconvienent, installing, deleting, and reinstalling games from the apps store could be viewed as no different than putting a cartridge into and out of your game console. It's a bit aggravating but it would still only take a handful of seconds to minutes to do so it's not like we're losing the games forever.

Second, online flash drives are getting more and more common and easy to use. I'd expect apple to make good use of them for movies and tv, so why not games/apps as well?

Third, if Apple substantially lowers the cost of their ipod touches, then I can see a lot of people buying multiple. One for work, one for fun. One for games, one for other apps. For $200, I'd consider getting a 32 gigger (which obviously is not the case presently as those are, what, $400 now?)

Fourth, I don't know how this works exactly but could Apple somehow create memory chips for first and second generation iphone/touches?
01-12-2009, 08:30 AM
For me, the lack of hard buttons is a real issue that prevents iPhone becoming a hard core game machine. Apple should open the system so people can make accerories that can attach hard buttons to the unit. Once that happens, iPhone will rival NDS and PSP in a big way.

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01-12-2009, 10:15 AM
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 849
I personally think buttons would ruin it. On screen buttons are the way to go, if they need them.
01-12-2009, 10:29 AM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,557
Originally Posted by nowires View Post
For me, the lack of hard buttons is a real issue that prevents iPhone becoming a hard core game machine. Apple should open the system so people can make accerories that can attach hard buttons to the unit. Once that happens, iPhone will rival NDS and PSP in a big way.
I think if the game is well made, and by well made, I mean for the iPhone/Touch, buttons aren't really as necessary.
My biggest concerns with accessories is I like that I can have my Touch in my pocket with me at all times, it's my new American Express as I NEVER leave home without it.
Accessories just means increasing the size, and I don't want to be walking down the street and people asking me if that's a Touch in my pocket or am I happy to see them...know what I mean?

As for space issue, I have a 32gb so it's not really an issue at the moment. I more have an issue with the 9 page limit. Especially as mentioned not wanting to remove apps with the saved data even if you don't want to use them anymore. The 9 page limit really hinders your abilities to keep an app that's completed and no longer used, and you'll eventually have to take it off to make room for other apps, even if I had 14gb's left, which in my opinion is ridiculous. Now, if saved data could be stored on iTunes or something, than I could remove apps as I please and 9 pages is fine, as I could sync whichever games/apps I wanted to for the day

Last edited by Mr. Charley; 01-12-2009 at 10:33 AM.
01-12-2009, 10:52 AM
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Berlin/Germany
Posts: 949
You don't have to take them off. You can have more apps than would fit on 9 screens - You just won't have access to them because you can't scroll to the 10th or 11th screen.


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